There’s no shortage of ways for small businesses to get their brand and their message in front of customers. Aside from traditional print advertising and media buying, social channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all offer paid ad models to give boosts to visibility and garner more attention and engagement.
In the U.S. alone, companies collectively spend $ 7.5 billion on social media marketing to improve their market share.
But small business owners don’t often have the budgets for paid advertising. In many cases, you have to rely on earned media that comes from things like content marketing and direct social engagement.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of small business success stories doing just that with social media marketing, but here are a few that stand out, using methods you can start executing today.
1. Herschel Supply Co
Herschel Supply Co is a small manufacturer of travel bags, backpacks and accessories. As the company grew, they began looking for ways to improve their engagement with fans and customers. So they set a goal:
Talk to everyone.
They aimed to use social media to respond to every question, even if didn’t relate specifically to their business. According to Allison Butula, digital marketing manager for the company:
“With the help of Hootsuite, social media allows us to serve our customers more effectively and on a personal level. Creating that bond while problem solving results in happy customers who return in the future.”
The campaign was so successful that Hootsuite reported Herschel Supply was able to achieve a 20% lift in customer service satisfaction.
That kind of direct engagement doesn’t cost much more than time and with nearly a half million Facebook fans, Herschel is definitely doing something right.
2. Repair Clinic
Repair Clinic is a small Michigan-based company providing parts and accessories to repair virtually any home appliance. While they have a local store for sales, they ship their products nationwide to homeowners in need.
The company has leveraged social media for providing value to followers by using sites such as Facebook and YouTube to expand the free in-depth repair videos they offer on their website.
These videos not only help educate their audience, they provide a veritable treasure trove of optimized content that brings new traffic via organic search listings.
3. Cupcake Royale
With several locations around Seattle, WA, Cupcake Royale not only uses cross-channel promotions to boost their followers on platforms like SnapChat (not to mention their over 50k Facebook fans and counting), they use social media to get their fans involved in the business.
When it’s time to change up the menu, especially for seasonal changes, Cupcake Royale enlists their audiences to provide suggestions for new flavors.
It takes no extra energy to ask, and it’s a great way to show your customers that you listen, care and are willing to provide them with something they want.
4. Optimal Run
Richmond, VA based Optimal Run takes engagement on social media to a new level. They want to make sure their customers get the personalized footwear they need, so they created a “recommendation” page where customers provide information about their footwear needs. The team then creates a personalized video response shared via social media or through a direct google hangout with the customer.
They even give you a discount if you use their recommendation service.
If you thought there wasn’t much to get excited about when it comes to hot dogs, think again. Franktuary is a popular hot dog destination in Pittsburgh and fans love the engagement of their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The company posts random trivia in a hashtag series and uses social media to quickly respond to fans and customers, post the location of food trucks and shares a wealth of educational content on their blog – including gardening tips.
That variety of content and engagement has earned them thousands of fans – quite the accomplishment for a specialty restaurant.
6. The Grilled Cheese Truck
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get excited about a good cheese toastie (known stateside as a grilled cheese sandwich), and The Grilled Cheese Truck has turned the love for that simple melty goodness into a booming business through social media. Having expanded to multiple trucks, the company uses social media to engage fans and build a loyal following across their service area.
Not only to they keep fans updated on their current and upcoming location, but they share great photos that stir appetites and drive business as well. With over 50,000 fans, it’s clear that they’re giving their followers exactly what they want.
Hubba isn’t your typical brick and mortar small business. They’re a tech startup that helps buyers find info on products they care about while discovering products from new brands.
The company uses social media to create thought leadership channels, report on industry trends, and build a community that drives engagement between consumers and brands. Social media has become the channel on which their brand thrives, and it’s working – Hubba was recently selected as a Red Herring Top 100 winner.
The good news here is that you don’t need a massive budget to make your brand stand out on social media, or even a vast pool of creative talent. Some of the greatest successes come from leveraging the natural engagement of the platforms, providing customers with that 1-on-1 interaction that they crave from their favorite local businesses.
Take the time to develop a social marketing strategy today and look for easy-to-deploy tactics that don’t require a great deal of time to execute. Once visibility begins to grow, you can expand your tactics to create a more robust strategy involving content marketing and video across multiple social channels.
How do you use social media to promote your small business? What’s your preferred social platform? Share your tips with me in the comments:Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community